All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.

Robert Kennedy

Friday, January 6, 2012

Happiness is...

So the majority of people here celebrate Christmas "old school" on January 7th which is the Orthodox Christmas as opposed to the Christian holiday. And New Years is on the 14th. Since some people celebrate the Christian holidays, the country basically shuts down for a month. Many travel, many come home, many just relax. I have been off work since December 14th and don't start up again until January 16th. 
I used this time to take my Christmas vacation to Vienna and Prague which was amazing if you've been keeping up, highly recommend both if you have the means, they are so choice. And few went back to the US. I don't think that is a wise move as going back to two weeks of full amenities and running water and the comforts of home and family, for me, would make it extremely difficult to come back. Not to mention the price tag on a plane ticket from Moldova. Europe is pretty cheap to maneuver around. However, some volunteers did do it.
Also, one of our staff members did. The senior staff in Moldova are Americans. Our training coordinator, Margaret, decided to travel back to Oakland, CA to visit her children and grandchildren. The day before Lyndsey and I left for our trip we walked by Margaret's office and she asked about our trip and shared her excitement about going to the US for a few weeks to see her family.
This morning, we were all informed that while visiting her family, Margaret suffered a brain aneurysm and did not survive. Everyone is in shock. 
During the summer, Margaret was in charge of our training program. She was an older lady and sometimes rubbed people the wrong way, myself included. But nobody ever wished her any harm. One thing that is comforting is that she was with her family and was extremely happy to be there. And she sure did love the Peace Corps and she loved Moldova. So I think it's a bucket of win for her.
The thing that is always strange to me is how people react to such news. I was not close to her but having dealt with so many deaths over the past few years, it does leave a pit in my stomach. Thinking of how I 'just saw her' and how quickly aneurysm's take peoples lives and life is short yada yada yada. And I go back and forth on the reactions. It's not my business but I know people who did not in fact like her who are now praising her saying she will be missed. So is it a fake appreciation or is it truly bygones now that all the pettiness didn't matter? I can never figure it out. But I'm going to go with the side that it doesn't matter now. Her life was well lived. She volunteered and then worked for this organization for the later part of her life so how could that be bad? She was a good person and dedicated her life to service and she died happily surrounded by her family. So for her, I guess she found her happiness even if her time came too soon. So reactions be damned, I am glad that Margaret lived a good life and was happy and that she will be truly honored here and back home.

Monday, January 2, 2012


This is the first year in a while where we haven't had a major family tragedy. It feels a little weird. But overall, how can I complain? My one goal for the year was to end it in a foreign country and I accomplished that. Everyone thought I was crazy when I decided to go on this venture but even though they thought that, they supported me. I know it's hard on my family and friends and it's hard on me to see that life actually goes on without me. But, I'm doing something I've always wanted to do. I'm still not sure exactly what my purpose is here. It's taking longer than I imagined to find my footing but I still think it was the right decision. I could've easily stayed in Southern California at my job and been content for the next 20 years but I like to shake things up, find new challenges, live outside my comfort zone. Moldova is a strange country and there are things I love and hate about it but at least it's something different. Something I never in a million years thought I would be doing. I like learning Russian and Romanian and seeing another culture and it daily reminds me just how lucky I had it growing up in the US. And i have this opportunity to travel. I mean when in my wildest dreams did I ever picture I would spend Christmas in the Czech Republic? Not to mention all these great new friends I have. I feel like I've known some of them forever and it hasn't even been a year. So if my one goal for 2011 was to change my life, meet new people and live in a foreign land, I think that I did pretty well.
Resolutions? Ugh. I hate that word. So I'll just say these statements:

  • I hope to further my knowledge of the Russian language.
  • I will never understand people who don't eat meat.
  • I am glad to live in a culture where material wealth means nothing.
  • I am SO glad I am not in the US for the upcoming election.
  • This year I will go to a minimum of 4 countries I have never been to. As of right now, I have been to 10!
  • I am not a drinker. Always been surrounded by friends and family who are and I'm just not and never will be. As I get older, I am distancing myself more from people who still think that is the only way to have a good time.
  • I'm so incredibly glad I grew up in the 70's and 80's when there wasn't the technology that there is now. I never would've left the house and I would've completely missed out on childhood.
  • I will NEVER understand when people are vacationing why they have to update everyone on what a good time they're having. GET OFFLINE AND GO OUTSIDE!!!!! I don't care if you're on your phone. Turn it off and have a conversation with a stranger for God's sake!
  • I'm so grateful I don't have religion in my life.
  • I like that I'm confident enough in myself at this age that I don't succumb to peer pressure and can just laugh at it. And yes, I still deal with it.
  • I miss my family.
Hope 2012 is a great year for me and everyone I love.